My 2 cents on using a Scratch-stock

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Blog entry by nobuckle posted 06-05-2012 03:31 AM 12055 reads 3 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

So i’m in the process of making a till for my hand planes and thought I’d dress it up a bit by applying some moulding to cover the edges of the material I’m using. I had a left over 10’ length of 3/4” x 1/4” trim from a previous job so I decided to use it as the moulding material. As I pondered the project I decided to use my scratch-stock to make the moulding a little more interesting. Long story short, I got out my scratch-stock and went right to work. I tested what I wanted to do on what was left over after cutting all the moulding pieces to rough lenth.

Here is the profile I decided on;

To create this profile I’m using two blades-a beading blade and a cove blade.

What I want to discuss is how I use my scratch-stock. There are a number of ways to make and use scratch-stocks. They can be very elaborate or very simple. Here are a few examples;

The design I chose came from a Shop Notes magazine. You can view it here.

There seems to be two primary uses for a scratch-stock. One use is for creating various kinds of profiles on either the face or the edge of a work piece. The other use is for helping to create a recess for decorative inlay. At this point I only use mine for creating profiles – simple ones at that.

It needs to be said that I am no expert when it comes to using this kind of hand tool. I am only sharing my experience – limmited as it is.

Before using my scratch-stock I orient my workpiece in such a way so that I am pulling the scratch-stock with the grain of the wood. I realize that if my blades are sharp enough I should be able to go against the grain as well without any tear-out. I view the tool as I would a hand plane, thus I choose to go with the grain as much as possible.

Once I have my material oriented I take my scratch-stock in hand and begin to scratch away. The way the scratch-stock is held seems to matter. I normally hold mine at about 45 degrees as I pull the scratch-stock toward me. One thing I do that others may not is that I begin by doing the ends of the material first. Once the ends are done I work on the material in between. Right or wrong, this seems to work for me.

In this short video I demonstrate my method for using a scratch-stock;

Here are some graphics that I hope you will find helpful should you decide to use a scratch-stock (You may have to zoom in with your browser in order to read the instructions on the graphics);

Begin by holding the scratch-stock at an angle

Another thing I’d like to point out is that a scratch-stock is somewhat like plough plane in that once the desired depth is reached there is a noticeable difference in the sound created by the tool. When the blade has gone into the material as far as it can go there will no longer be the sound of the blade removing material. I know that seems obvious but I thought it was worth mentioning.

Well, I think I’m going to wrap this up. If I have anything more to say about the matter I’ll make another post. I’d really like to hear your thought on this matter. If you use a scratch-stock I’d love to hear about your experience.

Thank you for your time. Take care.

-- Doug - Make an effort to live by the slogan "We try harder"

7 comments so far

View Oldtool's profile


2659 posts in 2243 days

#1 posted 06-05-2012 07:38 AM

Very interesting and informative. Thanks for the tutorial.

-- "I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The point is to bring them the real facts." - Abraham Lincoln

View mafe's profile


11734 posts in 3142 days

#2 posted 06-05-2012 08:19 AM

That was a really nice blog.
Love your version of the scratch-stock.
Fine little video.
Best thoughts,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

View Ken Fitzpatrick's profile

Ken Fitzpatrick

376 posts in 4076 days

#3 posted 06-05-2012 11:01 AM

This looks like a great way to make repairs. I have an original door (1876) on our home that is damaged on the inside. If I make a scratch stock from the good parts of the molding around the glass I should be able to build up the damaged area then use the scratch stock to merge the repair with the original.

What would be the best fill to work with scratch stock?

Great post thanks.


-- • "I have noticed that nothing I have never said ever did me any harm."....... Calvin Coolidge

View Roger's profile


20929 posts in 2857 days

#4 posted 06-05-2012 11:25 AM

Very interesting. Thnx for putting this together.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

View Northwest29's profile


1642 posts in 2543 days

#5 posted 06-05-2012 04:15 PM

Interesting and inspirational – appreciate you’re taking the time to put it together and share it with us.


-- Ron, Eugene, OR, "Curiosity is a terrible thing to waste."

View KOVA's profile


1363 posts in 2431 days

#6 posted 06-06-2012 03:32 AM



View robbiethewood's profile


124 posts in 2297 days

#7 posted 06-06-2012 09:32 AM

Very interesting thanks for sharing


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